The Administration for Children and Families presents NRCEC 2018, National Research Conference on Early Childhood. June 25 - 27, 2018 at Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, VA.
June 25 - 27, 2018, Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA



The Program Committee invites poster, paper symposium, and poster symposium proposals for the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) National Research Conference on Early Childhood. Presentations may discuss recent research (published or unpublished) or synthesize findings already published in the literature.

Conference Goals

The goals of ACF’s National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2018 (NRCEC 2018) are to:

The 2018 Conference will present the latest research surrounding child care, Head Start, Early Head Start, home visiting, child welfare, special education, pre-kindergarten, early elementary, and other early childhood programs. Further, the conference welcomes submissions from all relevant fields including education, child development, political science, psychology, sociology, public and allied health, pediatrics, psychiatry, nursing, social work, dentistry, anthropology, law, and economics. Populations of interest include low-income families, as well as populations that may require specialized services, including but not limited to dual language learners, children affected by trauma or homelessness, children from immigrant/migrant families, children in foster care, and children with disabilities.

NRCEC 2018

The Administration for Children and Families aims to support the social and economic well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. This mission is represented across ACF programs serving young children. Collectively, these programs promote economic security, health and safety, and positive developmental trajectories, particularly for vulnerable populations.

There is substantial national, state, and local investment that targets expansion of the capacity of early childhood programs to deliver high quality services and education to young children. This increasing focus on quality improvement is evident in recent federal program regulations and initiatives, including the new Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act reauthorization, the Maternal and Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative, the Institute of Educational Sciences’ Early Learning Network, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS).

However, many questions remain about how programs can most effectively and efficiently support and fulfill ACF’s mission. Research presented at NRCEC 2018 will address these knowledge gaps across programs serving young children and their caregivers. NRCEC 2018 presents research that builds the evidence base in support of local, state, and federal initiatives.

Research topics of interest for NRCEC 2018 include but are not limited to:

For general submission questions, inquiries on program content, or information on submitting a paper application, contact Stephanie Barros at

Rules of Participation

Submission Formats


Posters are single papers (with coauthors, where applicable) involving research or program evaluation on a specific topic. The poster format is especially conducive to interaction and discussion among conference participants. Posters will be in two-hour time slots, with no other concurrent sessions. Posters will be grouped by content area to foster networking among the presenters and audience. Authors involved in posters in multiple content areas must be prepared to present their work in multiple locations of the exhibit area.


Prospective presenters should prepare a session that employs a lively and varied format as well as audiovisuals and other materials to enhance learning. Symposia address major research questions of a theoretical, empirical, programmatic, and/or policy nature relevant to the conference with detailed implications for practice and policy substantially emphasized. Symposia will be scheduled for 1 hour and 45 minutes during one of six timeslots. Each symposium includes an organizer (who submits the application), a chairperson (who facilitates the symposium), presenters of two or three papers, and a discussant. The organizer, discussant, or a presenter may also serve as chair of the session. The discussant offers integrating commentary, questions for discussion, and/or leads audience participation. Discussants provide a critical analysis of the studies being presented and should not be involved directly in the presented projects as researchers or partners in the research. Symposia must involve presenters from two or more projects, universities, institutions, or organizations who represent different perspectives or different aspects of an issue. Proposals that do not conform to this requirement may not be sent for peer review. Sessions are considered particularly strong if they include practitioner or policymaker perspectives as presenters or discussants. Symposia that foster discussion among persons of diverse interests, culture, perspectives, disciplinary affiliations, and backgrounds are strongly encouraged.

Poster Symposia:

Poster Symposia include a display of 4 to 7 posters, a discussant, and an opportunity for participants to discuss the posters with the researchers. Poster Symposia are 1 hour and 45 minutes in length. Poster symposia may be organized in a variety of ways. Presenters and discussants should not all be from the same project or organization. Sessions are considered particularly strong if they include practitioner or policymaker perspectives as poster presenters or discussants. Symposia that foster discussion among persons of diverse interests, culture, perspectives, disciplinary affiliations, and backgrounds are strongly encouraged.

Submission Requirements

For all submission types: The online submission system will guide you through each step of the process and prompt you to provide all required information.

To ensure a blind review, no presenter or author names, agencies, organizations, or other identifying information should appear anywhere in the submission. Submissions involving a particular early care or education program may not name the program, location, staff members, or affiliate organizations. Submissions that do not conform to these standards will not be reviewed.

To access the online submission system, you will need to create a new account. Once you have created an account, enter the site and select “Submit a Proposal.” From there, select a submission type: poster, symposium, or poster symposium, and complete the appropriate fields.

Once you have provided the required information, select the “Submit” button. The system will send an email to the contact author (poster submission) or organizer (symposium submission) confirming that your submission has been received. If you cannot complete the entire process at one time, be certain to click “Save” throughout the submission process. The online system allows you to save your submission, exit the system, and return to update it at a later time.

For all submissions (paper and poster symposium and individual poster), you will need to prepare:

For symposium submissions (both paper and poster), you also will need to prepare:

For individual poster submissions, you also will need to prepare:

If these items are prepared prior to beginning your submission, be aware that an average poster submission takes approximately 15 minutes to input online; symposia of both kinds take approximately 20–25 minutes.

Selection Process and Criteria

Evaluation criteria for peer review (equally weighted):

Priority will be given to submissions including research samples from diverse cultures and low-income populations, if available.

For symposia, additional criteria include:

Decision Notification

Decision notification will be received by Early March 2018. Only the symposium organizer or the contact author of each poster will receive the decision notification. They are responsible for informing other participants.

Submission Identifiers

Topic Key Words:

Program Setting/Service:

Populations of Interest: